1 Dec 2014

ANZAC role for IS fight possible

5:09 pm on 1 December 2014

New Zealand could end up going into Iraq in a joint ANZAC-badged training unit with Australia, Prime Minister John Key says.

John Key in Wellington in November 2014.

John Key Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The New Zealand Government is still carrying out a scoping mission about a possible contribution to the fight against Islamic State in Iraq, involving defence force personnel.

Mr Key insisted any joint training team would not extend into any combat activities.

"But what is possible is that New Zealand joins up with Australia, as part of a training capability, it's not impossible that they could be badged as an ANZAC unit, but we're a long way away from sort of agreeing that," he said.

"Firstly, the Australians haven't made a formal decision to go into undertaking training, neither have we, we haven't identified the place that we could train, and we certainly haven't made any decisions about a badged unit, but they certainly wouldn't be combat, they could be training if they took place."

Mr Key said any such unit would be symbolic, representing 100 years of commemorations of Gallipoli.

The Cabinet was likely to be briefed on whether or not New Zealand will send defence force personnel to Iraq in a training role early next year.